Beautiful houses, inviting new neighborhoods, mortgage borrowing tips, homeownership basics — there's good stuff all through the Parade of Homes guidebook.
But then at page 109: My eyes bugged out, my throat went dry, and I fairly ranted to my neighbors here in the newsroom 'hood.
“(Sputter, gasp, sputter, cough),” I exclaimed. “B-b-blasphemy!”
The end of the bookend is near.
“Don't just fill your bookshelves with a bunch of books. Use them as an opportunity to make a great-looking focal point for your room,” it says in a “filler” kind of article that ran without a byline or source — so I can't call in or email a piece of my mind.
Hear then my bibliophilic YAWP (imagine Walt Whitman in a gimme cap or Resistol amid the leaves of grass atop Turnham Mountain north of Muldrow, or Eagle Mountain at Nicut, or Cowhead Mountain at Blackgum):
Wait here while I have an erudite redneck conniption, and then tump over.
Sorry, I know all is lost. It's just a matter of time until books are gone — but, futile or not, I will resist to the end.
The word “bookshelf” will linger, of course, in a madding tease, just like “dial tone” haunts us even though nobody dials phones anymore.
“Start off with an empty bookshelf so you've got a clean slate,” the article goes on, rubbing it in. “Depending on what kind of unit you have you might want to consider painting or wallpapering the back of it to add some interest.”
Here's an idea: Put books on it!
Alas and alack, that's just the old man in me. You know, they will take my books when they pry them from my cold dead fingers. In fact, the decline of the book has made me a kind of pusher. Psst, kid! I can score you a vintage “Harry Potter” book. A book. From way back in 1997!
Then the article pours salt in my wound, reminding me that bookshelves actually started becoming more than bookshelves — or less, if you ask me — before everything started going digital: It offers tips for how to arrange books for looks.
Who has space to arrange books for looks? I guess most people do. I do well to get mine crammed onto shelves and nooks and crannies all over the house, grouped roughly by subject.
“Use both horizontal and vertical stacks of books to create some diversity in the shelving unit,” it says. “Consider sorting them by color and-or size to create a cohesive look. If the spines of your books are damaged or unattractive consider covering them in paper or fabric to make them look cleaner and prettier. Use a mix of hardcover, paperbacks and magazines.”
Egad. Books for looks! Melvil Dewey spins in his grave. Shelve the idea. Bibliophiles unite!